Lessons Learned - Clallam Bay did not really work out

April 16, 2018

Well I tried

Well I tried, but it just did not work out. Clallam Bay is a four hour drive from my home in Redmond, Washington, so going there weekly was really gruelling. So things had to be going really well to keep that up.

The program that I wanted to do at Clallam Bay was focused on trying to get some of the more advanced developers to work on open source projects, using nodejs and javascript. But what I ended up with is a small class of relative beginners - and I was not really prepared to teach beginning programming. The main issue here was that, because Clallam Bay already had an ongoing software teaching curriculum, the better students had already pretty much decided on what their emphasis was to be (such as game design or C#) that did not really fit well with my skill set.

Also, and this is an ongoing lesson learned, even though opportunities at a prison are limited, the most talented prisoners are in high demand for prison jobs, for example as TAs for education classes. What I wanted to do was a little too far from their interests and abilities to attract them away from their existing activities.

So after six months of trying, I stopped going to Clallam Bay, and just continued at WSR in Monroe which is close to home (only 30 minutes).

Caspia is my personal project dedicated to help prisoners in the state of Washington learn to code. I lead a technical seminar at WSR in Monroe, Washington where a group of prisoners is learning web design using the nodejs platform.